State Rep. Candidate Elgie Sims Hit with Complaint for Keeping His Client’s Civil Settlement

Nicole Marshall

Unemployed, Single Mother Says Attorney Lacks Integrity to Hold Public Office

CHICAGO (MARCH 19, 2012) – An unemployed, single Chicago mother, who retained Chicago Attorney Elgie Sims to represent her in a civil suit against her landlord, today decided to go public about the complaint she filed this past Tuesday in the Circuit Court of Cook County, w accusing the candidate for state representative in Illinois’ 34th District for breach of contract and failure to pay her portion of the settlement.

Michelle Ivy, 35, who now lives on the city’s West Side, filed a lawsuit in May 2008 against her landlord and building owner who was responsible for a major water leakage in the building that resulted in a ceiling collapse that damaged her residence. Although Ivy, who initially represented herself, won an arbitration hearing for $3,575 in January 2009, she said the judge in the case recommended that she hire an attorney for the trial, which was scheduled in May 2009.

Shortly before the trial date, Ivy retained Elgie Sims as her attorney. Ivy says Sims instructed her to appear per se for the next hearing on May 5, 2009 and request a continuance, which was granted. At the next hearing on August11, 2009, she appeared with Sims and reached a settlement of $2100. In January 2010, she signed a release for payment and returned it to Sims as instructed. Despite numerous attempts to reach him to secure payment, Sims has yet to pay the settlement.

"Elgie Sims lacks integrity,” said Ivy, who says she was referred to Sims by a mutual friend. “He lacks good ethics and I believe he has poor morals. The fact that you would take advantage of a single, unemployed mother of a child serious developmental issues, and who cannot work because she has to take her son to therapy four times a week, is outrageous. If he would do this to someone like me, he is not the kind of person who should serve in any public office."

In a recent interview with the Northwest Indiana Times, Sims did not deny owing money to Ivy, but he refused to comment on the case, citing “attorney/client” privilege. He did, however, comment on the timing of the complaint.

"It's the silly season, and my opponents feel so threatened by the fact that my campaign is succeeding in getting out our message," he told a reporter for the Northwest Indiana Times. "It's incredible that this is happening now."

Besides the Circuit Court, Ivy has also filed a complaint with the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission(ARDC), and has appealed to womens organizations and community leaders to help her resolve this matter with Sims and to call for his withdrawal from the race.

“They will investigate and get you your money back,” said Ivy, referring to ARDC. “I just did that in January. I got a call from Elgie and I saw his campaign manager, who is my friend's husband. They were the ones who referred him to me. My friend did not know Elgie was like that, …and my friend is so embarrassed. She knows the struggles I have with my son and that I need to sacrifice everything.”

She added, “He is out there campaigning hard and raising money for his campaign, while I am trying to savor every dollar I have for my son and having to deal with that, and make sure he is progressing to the fullest of his ability. The last thing I need to worry about is my money.”

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